Musk asserts lack of info from Twitter on bots breaches deal
Elon Musk on Monday accused Twitter of refusing to provide him information on bots and fake accounts on the platform, arguing the company is breaching its merger agreement.
In a Securities and Exchange filing, Musk said the company is “actively resisting and thwarting his information rights” under the merger agreement by not providing him with the information.
Last month, Musk said he would put his deal to buy Twitter for $44 billion “on hold” unless the company could provide information to prove claims that bots make up fewer than 5 percent of Twitter users.
Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal published a Twitter thread last month, after Musk raised the issue, sharing information about spam on the platform and how Twitter aims to weed it out.
Musk cast further doubt on the 5 percent estimate in Monday’s filing.
“If Twitter is confident in its publicized spam estimates, Mr. Musk does not understand the company’s reluctance to allow Mr. Musk to independently evaluate those estimates,” the filing states.
A Twitter spokesperson pushed back on the claims, saying the company “has and will continue to cooperatively share information with Mr. Musk to consummate the transaction in accordance with the terms of the merger agreement.”
“We believe this agreement is in the best interest of all shareholders. We intend to close the transaction and enforce the merger agreement at the agreed price and terms,” the spokesperson said in a statement.
The latest back-and-forth comes a few days after Twitter said Musk’s bid to buy the company cleared a Federal Trade Commission review. The deal is still subject to remaining customary closing conditions, including approval by Twitter stockholders and receipt of remaining applicable regulatory approvals, the company said Friday.
Monday afternoon Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) probed Twitter for information about bots on the platform.
Paxton issued a Civil Investigative Demand to investigate whether Twitter’s reporting on bots is “false, misleading, or deceptive” in violation of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act.
The attorney general’s announcement doesn’t specifically cite Musk, but it said the company has received “intense scrutiny in recent weeks” over claims in financial regulatory filings that fewer than 5 percent of all users are bots.
A Twitter spokesperson declined to comment in response to Paxton’s probe.
Updated at 4:41 p.m.